Monday, November 21, 2016

childhood // three months of dandelion

This is the first baby I've not regularly blogged about. She fills my Instagram account with her joy, sweetness, and laughter, but I've not kept up with updates here on the blog.

Something has been a bit different this time around. I'm not sure if it's because, for a moment, I wasn't sure either of us were going to make it out of that operating room or maybe because there's something about the sweet treasure that she is calls for a degree of hiddenness. I also had a hard time healing from her birth that really had my head in a place that needed all the space I could share with it, not to mention we all got sick in this month where I trailed off on her updates. Goodness, so many possible rationales, that ultimately all played a little part in the why of me not getting to sharing our gift in this space.

I've thought about how much I love going back and revisiting the boys posts so I'm going to make it a point to go down memory lane for the months that I failed to update on her little to-do's and get them posted. If it's not your thing, I get it, but if it is, I pray that you get to experience a little Dominus Est moment that leaves you feeling a little lighter and encouraged that God is still present, working, and oh-so-good.

Y'all, our little family has such a gift in Dandelion! Only a good and wonderful God could have knitted such a joyful spirit filled with smiles, snuggles, so much goodness, and laughter.

So on I go, recalling our little lovely and all she shared in her third month.

Firstly and most beautifully significant, you were baptized. Loved ones came to celebrate this wonderful occasion. Our time was filled with so much beauty! God is good, Mother Church is beautiful, and you were welcomed in just as you are, giggles and laughter abounding.  

Your baptism truly was a wonderful time. Your Godparents are amazing and incredible examples of Christ's love and goodness and we couldn't be more happy to have them be a part of our little family in such a special way.

Now onto the little things:

You shared lots of sleepy smiles, milk-drunk smiles, and real smiles. This was a skill of hers that she had down-pat pretty quickly!
Her brothers asked to hold her every chance they could.

They love you, dear. They love you so very much.

She was the sweetest little sleeper. In the sleep department during this third month, you were such a treasure, sleeping anywhere from 7 to 9 hours at a time - at night! I can't tell you how healing that was for me. Especially since mama had a much harder time healing from this cesarean than the two previous!
All the snuggles. All. the. SNUGGLES!
...and giggles. The sweetest sound!
...and that little tongue of yours liked to find its way out during giggles and smiles. It was pretty cute!
Your brothers were both so fascinated by you and after having you around for three months informed me that they wanted many more babies in our family!
You enjoyed a simple bench swing with mama while watching your brothers play at the park. You also loved a good rocking to sleep in our rocker.
We attended a Gala. You wanted much of our attention throughout and made sure not to go to sleep the entire three hours we were there! I guess you didn't want to miss any of the action.
You met Uncle A and Aunt Bekah. They love you, baby girl. They love you a lot and you thoroughly enjoyed loving them too!

Unfortunately, a vicious stomach bug ran through our house. Soon after your brothers fell victims, I, too, came down with it. It was awful and I tried my best to nourish you and keep you healthy but it was a strong one that made it's way to you.

It was awful to see you unwell. You had fever, got a terribly stuffy nose + congestion that made it hard for you to breathe, and some tummy troubles (but not as bad as everyone else, thankfully.)
Though, despite you being unwell, you naturally shared much goodness and joy with all around.
...your smiles and giggles were still constant and one could hardly sense any fussiness.
Thankfully, you nursed well through it all. We made one trip to the ER because your breathing was so labored and had the best treatment.
Soon, all was well. Nana came to help and give me a little reprieve because dealing with that nasty virus + tending to all three littles was more than my healing body was ready for.
We rested our way back to health and all was well again.

You got to get in a lot of snuggles and fun with Nana.
We even took a little trip to a nearby shopping center to walk around and get some fresh air.

While Nana was here, Daddy and I snuck in a date night and it was good.
Little love, you continued to amaze us in your third month. Since you were born, your strength and goodness have been such a blessing to my heart, to our family, to our extended family, and to all you've met. Your sweet temperament is a gift from Above and we couldn't be more grateful for how you love us!

Sweet girl, you embody these words from St. Teresa of Calcutta:

“Let anyone who comes to you go away feeling better and happier. Everyone should see goodness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile. Joy shows from the eyes. It appears when we speak and walk. It cannot be kept closed inside us. It reacts outside. Joy is very infectious.”

- St. Teresa of Calcutta

It's pretty amazing, really. And I pray that I, and your family, always help nourish and keep that sweet little light radiating all the days of your life. Love you, baby girl!

Friday, October 28, 2016

{#write31days - day 28} silence and stillness

In the present moment, life happens. It happens always. Diligently and gently, abruptly and surprisingly, moving us forward into each next breath we take. On we go, sometimes passively and sometimes actively. Our heart keeps beating and our body keeps warm as our soul seeks new ways to know, love, and serve the good God who knitted together our very intricacies at our very beginning.

It's hard to always be present. It's hard to always seek His Face in our moments, much less, in the few moments of silence that scatter themselves throughout our days.

I'm sitting in my silence right now. I know! Miracle of miracles that all three little souls are asleep right now! at the SAME time! And yet, sitting in this little space of what looks and feels like silence, I look around and do not see a stillness, even though nothing is moving; nor do I hear a silence even though my little people are not being their typical roudy selves.

Instead, I see the strewn legos across a table, scattered battle gear, baby teething toys, dishes uncleaned, a whirling fan, curtains that sway, a dinner that isn't going to make itself, and work to be done...because there's always work to be done, isn't there?

But all is still and silence does surround me.

Silence and stillness are two occasions of life that my little soul has often pursued to know better. My interest began while in graduate school. There was this time I went to adoration with a priest friend. This priest was one of my classmates in a mental health program wanting to learn more about how to better shepherd his flock. Any who knew or know him now are truly blessed.

While we were on our way to adoration, I remember telling him how much I loved the chapel because of the reverent silence that was often present. I yearned for silence in those days as I still do, today. "It's what keeps me sane and prayerful!" I told him.

Upon sharing my sentiment, my dear priest friend looked at me and shared that he couldn't relate to that kind of silence. See, he is one of a handful of Deaf Catholic priests in the US and the concept of silence means something entirely different to him.

He shared that for him, silence was stillness. He appreciated the chapel because of it's stillness. Being Deaf, he hears with his eyes the same way I hear with my ears. This information was profound to me then and still is now. It is an awareness that I know my heart will constantly be unraveling in years to come, thanks be to God.

Stumbling into my nap-time silence today, brought me back to that time, his words, and a new awareness that stirred my soul many moons ago. I'll never forget that conversation or that experience of adoration. I remember how profound the stillness and silence felt that day. It was pouring rain outside. The sounds of the beating drops against the beautiful stained glass of this quaint little chapel is forever etched in my heart. That day, there was silence and stillness only not around me, but within.

"In the silence of the heart You speak 
In the silence of the heart You speak
And it is there that I will know You
And You will know me
In the silence of the heart
You speak, You speak."

-Audrey Assad

Over the years that have passed, what I've noticed, is that no matter what is going on around me whether it be silence or stillness, peace happens when the goodness of stillness and silence are present within my soul.

Stilling my soul is where He meets me; where I can see His Face and know His Presence. It is where He speaks and shares His Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. No matter what is going on around me it is my interior that matters.

“We live in a society in which every space, every moment must be ‘filled’ with initiatives, activities, and sounds. Often there is not ever time to listen or to converse. Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us not be afraid to create silence inside and outside ourselves if we wish to be capable not only of hearing the voice of God, but also the voice of those near us, the voice of our fellow man.” 
-Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI

Finding the right time to pray, to be Mary or to be Martha, to serve, to study, to embrace the ordinary moments, to move, or to be still can all be so confusing and frustrating. No time feels like the right time because there is always sound and there is always movement. But, if we dig down deep and strive to quiet our hearts so that He can stay with us awhile in our interior stillness and silence, the peace that comes is truly good and beautiful.

Babies are up now, but I'm curious:
What does stillness sound like to you? What does silence look like? 

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